If you’ve paid your loans on time, you can also call a lender and ask for a lower interest rate. It may not work, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
2. Not all debt is created equal
Not all debt is created equal. If you’ve got a significant amount of credit card debt, you’ll want to tackle that first before trying to cut down on student loans and other types of debt. Credit card debts often come along with high interest rates, and it can harm your credit score if you miss payments. Make a list of your debts and pay off the debt with the highest interest rates first, and go from there.
3. Have an emergency savings fund
Emergencies happen, and a lot of people don’t have enough saved to pay for unexpected medical bills, car issues or other expenses that pop up. Instead of depending on a credit card to pay for emergencies, start to build up a small emergency savings fund. Start with $1,000 as a fund to tap into when you need it.
» WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Digging out from a mountain of debt? You are not alone
4. Think about who you marry
While it’s not romantic, it’s an awkward conversation to have with your significant other before you say “I do.” You can even incur your partner’s debts in some cases. Have an honest conversation with your partner about credit scores and their personal financial decisions before tying the knot. If their debt is a concern, discuss a prenuptial agreement, which can protect you against your spouse’s debt.
5. Create a budget
Creating a budget will give you a concrete plan, telling you where your money is going, according to clark.com. Organize expenses in an Excel sheet or download an app like Mint to budget your expenses. Tracking what you spend gives you insight into some unnecessary spending patterns you have.
While you won't always be thinking about debt, you may have to downsize while you work on paying it off, according to clark.com. Take a look at your spending patters and ask yourself if there's something you really don't need? Are you spending too much on entertainment or eating out? What subscription services can you go without? Do you really use that gym membership? You can also sell items you don't use like extra furniture.
7. Start thinking about retirement now
You can pay off debt while thinking about retirement. Contribute what you can to your 401(k) or retirement-specific fund. If your employer offers matching contributions, try to meet their match. Contributions will typically be tax-deductible.